I’ve been remiss in updating the progress on the 50 state pizza project, as has my friend over at The Muffin Man. However, every couple of weeks, when I’m not sure what to do, or what to write, I look in the fridge to find what state I could represent with my next pizza endeavor.

I did it last week- I opened the fridge, and there was some celery, half a pepper, some olive tapenade, and some cold cuts and cheese. Ah, well. Maybe next week.

Then again, maybe not.

On my days off, I usually wander to the store, pick up a couple sundries, and head back home to make a sandwich or two, hence the cold cuts. For tomorrow’s outing, for example, I bought some edamame, some roasted peppers, and some sandwich vegetables. I also saw, in the frozen section, langostinos, those little half lobster/half prawn crawfish looking things. There, in the frozen aisle, was my inspiration. I’ve used crawfish many times before, and I love them, but their muddy flavor just wouldn’t go well on a pizza.

I gathered my purchases, went home, and began chopping with Gordon Ramsey’s MasterChef in the background. Into the bowl went Olive Tapenade, fresh basil, chopped celery, diced tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper, and a couple good handfuls of langostino tailmeat. This was the base of my pizza. This was going to be the sauce.

In the fridge, I had provolone and genoa salami, alongside some emmentaler and sopressatta. Another quick shred of the cheese and rough chop through the salami, and my pizza was almost ready to be assembled. I was making a muffuletta pizza.

Muffuletta is one of the old staple foods of New Orleans. It traditionally consists of olive salad with giardinera, ham, provolone, capicolla, salami, mortadella and any other italian meat you can find, all on a giant loaf of focaccia-like bread. Its origins trace back to the early 1900s, most prominently attributed to the French Quarter’s Central Grocery. Sicilian workers would come in during their lunch break, order meats, olive salad, and slices of cheese to eat with their bread, eating them separately, perched rather precariously on produce crates and barrels. Lupo Salvatore, the owner of Central Grocery, saw this as an opportunity to take something from the old world and adapt it to a new, New Orleans clientele. (Did you read my last post? See what I did there?) He took all the ingredients, layered them, and put them on a round muffuletta loaf, selling them by the quarter or half.

Alright, who’s hungry from that little history lesson? Back to the pizza.

With all this delicious nonsense happening in my kitchen, I took a time out to realize a problem with the 50 state pizza project. Some states will not fit on my pizza pan. It’s a decent sized pan, too. 14 inch? I guess what I’m saying is that I had to make do with a lopsided version of Louisiana. That’s okay. I think it’s more about the flavor than the shape. Shape is approximate.

Louisiana Pizza- Not Actual Shape or Size

So it was good. With the olive salad, the dough would have benefitted from a solid parbake to avoid the absorption of moisture that made the pizza only knife and forkable rather than the glorious foldable slices of, say, a New York Pizza. Does that mean it was a failure? Absolutely not. It was a great idea, and I loved the flavor. Half the pizza had salami, half had langostinos, and the entire thing tasted great. I’ll definitely think about it a little more before I make another one, and address the problem of soggy crust head on.

What should the next pizza be? If you’re inquiring about your home state, let me know what ideas you have for ingredients indigenous to that state, and how you’d envision it all fitting together. I’ll get back to you when I have a few good ideas.